FRIDAYS AT FOUR Volume 10 Issue 3

Volume 10 Issue 3
March 2013
News from GF Strategies

As we get ready to head for Rodeo Austin and South by Southwest, it’s time to review some of the trends that we have read about in the past month.

  • Wink Retail group reports they have partnered with Anthony Bourdain to create a New York food hall, with dishes from around the world. Other cities including Washington, DC and Seattle are also creating local vendor markets in retail spaces. “Difficult economic times have fostered the trend of multiple independent vendors in communal space”—Associated Press
  • Anhueser Busch/Budweiser reports weak beer sales. Now part of a global conglomerate, the only market where sales declined was North America. Overall revenue for the quarter was $11.71 billion dollars. Revenue growth was strong in Brazil and Mexico. Sales in North America were down by 2.3 percent.
  • Airport food used to be avoided unless you were starving. Now even residents of come cities are heading out to the airport to have dinners. One example the new terminal at SF Airport and at Cat Coras Kitchen you can order a grilled cheese with caramelized onions. IN some cases, when there is a new build out, average tickets have increased by as much as fifty percent. An executive at Legal Foods, with new offerings at Boston airport says “You want to be near airlines with more delays and cancellations”. At Austin, all vendors must be local brands. National brands now account for only 5.5 percent of all sales at SFO. WS Journal
  • An interesting headline caught our eye recently. McDonalds seeks relevance. McDonalds has reported flat sales. Many have blamed this on complicated menus, which has slowed service and turned off customers. “We overcomplicated the restaurants and did not give restaurants a chance to breathe” said Tim Fenton. “We’ve got to make sure that the food is relevant”.
  • The latest trend in organic foods is a category called “dabblers”. Marketers are working to turn these organic dabblers into consistent customers. According to one research firm, 64 percent of shoppers are “dabblers” or “temperate”. This research says that dabblers buy organic food haphazardly. Tempererates are price sensitive and buy for isolated reasons.”Devoteds” the top buyers of organics make up about 20 percent of shoppers. Grab and go milk in smaller containers is one strategy now being used by Organic Valley. One firm that added multigrain chips to its line this past year report sales have tripled.
  • Disney is making a one billion dollar investment on technology to track visitor preferences. The new MyMagic+ wrist band will allow Disney to better analyze crowd control, data collection and wearable technology. The real test will be if users see this as invading their privacy. According to the article the new MyMagic+ is a “sweeping reservation system that allows bookings month in advance on a website or Smartphone application. Bracelets called magic bands will link electronically to an encrypted database of visitor information. “When you make logistics easier, people tend to spend more time on entertainment and more time on consumables “says Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. –Business Week
  • Digital media company Amscreen has been using facial recognition software to target ads at individual shoppers. However, so far most advertisers are not asking for it, by the time the system is able to identify and connect, the ad “becomes irrelevant” and many people are not accepting being reached in this way yet”—Wired Magazine
  • The latest issue of Fast Company magazine has a list of the 100 most innovative companies. Number 43 name four companies that are on the leading edge of “rebuilding big food”..AgLocal,Beyond Meat,Bright Farms, Farmland LP and Harvest Power. Each could have a lot to say about the growing movement of locavore, source local, and buy local.

WE will have another report after we return from our visit and work in Austin, Texas and four days of attending the annual South by Southwest event.


Thanks for reading this edition of Fridays at Four.

Greg Flakus……. GF Strategies….Food Service Planning for Profit

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